This past weekend at the Phoenix Public Market, I came across an ancient fruit that was entirely new to me: the pichuberry.
The pichuberry hails from the Andean highlands of Peru, Chile, Ecuador, and Colombia. Its scientific name is Physalis peruviana, physalis meaning “bladder” – which refers to its bladder-like covering, the calyx.
Pichuberries are also called the Incan berry, Cape gooseberry, goldenberry, ground cherry, and uchuva. They look like yellow grape tomatoes, but are encased in a papery calyx similar to that of a tomatillo.
These marble-sized berries are incredibly flavorful, with a taste somewhere between the sweetness of a super-ripe tomato and a tad of tartness you might find in a citrus fruit.
While the pichuberry has been around for ages, it is just now gaining momentum and garnering interest in scientific and nutrition studies, due in large part to its rich antioxidant content, including polyphenols and carotenoids that may possess anti-inflammatory properties.
According to pichuberry.com, a 3.5 ounce serving of pichuberries has 65 calories, 2 g protein and 1 g fiber. It is also a good source of vitamin C and is said to have more vitamin A than many other dark orange and yellow fruits or vegetables.
You might not be able to find the pichuberry in your area yet – but don’t be surprised if you start hearing about it more frequently.With its “superfruit” marketing potential and exotic, indigenous origins, the pichuberry is primed to take off as perhaps the next açaí or goji berry.
But unlike many other superfruits – this one doesn’t need added sugar and salt to make it palatable. Pichuberries are absolutely delicious, just the way they are!